Green Buildings Earn Prestigious Acclaim

The American Institute of Architects (AIA) and its Committee on the Environment (COTE) selected 10 examples of architectural and “green” design solutions that protect and enhance the environment. The winners combined such approaches as daylighting, solar power, ground-source heat pumps, and energy efficiency to earn their place on the list.

Washington, D.C. – May 7, 2004 [] The American Institute of Architects (AIA) and its Committee on the Environment (COTE) selected 10 examples of architectural and “green” design solutions that protect and enhance the environment. The winners combined such approaches as daylighting, solar power, ground-source heat pumps, and energy efficiency to earn their place on the list. The top ten projects will be honored on May 27 during a presentation at the National Building Museum in Washington, by COTE Chair Mark Rylander, AIA, and again in June at the AIA National Convention and Design Exposition in Chicago. The 2004 Top Ten Green Projects address significant environmental challenges with designs that integrate architecture, technology, and natural systems. They make a positive contribution to their community, improve comfort for building occupants, and reduce environmental impacts through strategies such as: reuse of existing structures, connection to transit systems, low-impact site development, energy and water conservation, use of sustainable or renewable construction materials, and design that improves indoor air quality. Several of the projects reclaim former brown-field sites. The Jury selected projects that cover a broad spectrum of project types. Facilities include both new construction and renovation of office, retail, residential, academic, and institutional facilities. The AIA’s Committee on the Environment represents more than 5500 AIA members committed to making sustainable design integral to the practice of architecture. The seventh annual AIA/COTE Top Ten Green Projects initiative was developed by the AIA in partnership with the U.S. Department of Energy, Environmental Building News magazine and The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s ENERGY STAR Program. Jury members said that they wanted to pick a range of project and building types. The application forms gave them 10 metrics on each project for a quick reading on performance. “Then the text had to show that the submitter knew what he or she was talking about,” said Jury Chair Sandy Mendler , AIA. “This was not a beauty parade, although a lot of the submissions are really good contenders for AIA Honor Awards.” Three of the winners have earned Gold LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Certification from the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), and two are trying for Platinum LEED Certification, the council’s highest rating. The 2004 AIA Top Ten Green Projects follow (listed in random order): 20 River Terrace, The Solaire, New York City Cesar Pelli & Associates Architects, New York City 20 River Terrace is a 27-story, glass-and-brick residential tower in Battery Park City, directly adjacent to the site of the former World Trade Center, meeting both the recently enacted New York State Green Building Tax Credit and Gold LEED Certification. The architect designed the 357,000-square-foot, 293-unit building to consume 35 percent less energy, reduce peak demand for electricity by 65 percent, require 50 percent less potable water, and provide a healthy indoor environment. An integrated array of photovoltaic panels generates 5 percent of the building’s energy at peak loading. The building incorporates an advanced HVAC system, fueled by natural gas and free of ozone-depleting refrigerants. Daylighting has been maximized, and high-performance casement windows were used throughout. All residential units include programmable digital thermostats, ENERGY STAR fixtures and a master shutoff switch. Environmental Services Building, Pierce County, Wash. The Miller/Hull Partnership , Seattle, Wash. This building sits on a 900+ acre site, much of which has been extensively mined for gravel for over 100 years, resulting in a barren landscape. As the first major building constructed under “Reclaiming Our Resources”, the county’s 50-year master plan for the site, it sets the tone for future development. Its driving concepts call for a more humane work environment, introduction of natural light, interior vegetation, and views to the exterior. The project attempts to make people aware of being part of a greater regional context by developing the “Mt. Rainier ” axis through the site. Space planning follows a European office model: No desk is more than 30 feet to a window. Extensive daylighting studies led to the use of baffles in the skylights, a large western overhang, and exterior sunscreens on the east facade. A raised-floor air distribution system reduces the size and energy consumption of the mechanical system, improves indoor air quality, provides for future flexibility, and gives individuals direct control of their immediate environment. Nighttime flushing lowers the temperature of the concrete structure by several degrees, resulting in “free” cooling at the beginning of the day. Factor 10 House, Chicago EHDD Architecture, Chicago In 2000, the City of Chicago ‘s Departments of Environment and Housing sponsored a national competition to identify creative modifications to the existing New Homes for Chicago program. Factor 10 House’s cutting edge design was one of five affordable case-study designs chosen to be built. F10’s modular design responds to a narrow city site with adjacent buildings, with an open 1,834 square-foot floor plan that incorporates a solar chimney in the stairwell. The open plan enhances cross ventilation. Window placement maximizes reflected light; the solar chimney includes a south-facing clerestory window that brings natural light to the house’s core. A high-efficiency gas fired boiler and perimeter fintube baseboard provides heating, while natural ventilation delivers the cooling. A wall of water bottles acts as a heat sink in winter. Genzyme Center, Cambridge, Mass., Behnisch, Behnisch & Partner Inc., Venice, Calif. The building, headquarters for a biotechnology company, sits on former brown-field site in Cambridge at Kendall Square , a dense, massive “1970s Urban Renewal” development project built on wetlands fill. All of the environmental design strategies-energy efficiency, water conservation, material selection, urban site selection, and indoor environmental quality- not only contribute to the Platinum LEED rating the building is expected to achieve from the US Green Building Council – but establish an open spatial atmosphere for the building occupants. The high-performance curtain-wall system boasts operable windows on all 12 floors. These windows, linked to the building management system, allow for automated control and “night cooling”. Also, a third of the exterior envelope is a ventilated double-facade with a four-foot buffer that tempers solar gains year round. The building’s central atrium space acts as a huge return air duct and light shaft, and steam from a nearby power plant supplies central heating and cooling. The building will also use 32 percent less water than a comparable office building by having waterless urinals, dual-flush toilets, automatic faucets and low-flow fixtures. Greyston Bakery, Yonkers, NY Cybul & Cybul Architects, Edgewater, NJ The Greyston Bakery offers a 23,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art production bakery on a 1.6-acre former brown-field site in an old industrial area near downtown Yonkers . Intended as a revitalization catalyst to this blighted neighborhood, new bakery functions as continuous automated machine to produce brownies and other baked products. The building is bisected by a three-level light shaft with translucent floors, then bisected again in the opposite direction by a two-story atrium, which separates the office area from the production bakery, and introduces light and air into the offices. The light shaft and atrium also allow natural airflow throughout the bakery. Outside ambient air cools the baked products as they travel down a continuous spiral conveyor. Herman Miller, Zeeland, Mich., Krueck & Sexton Architects, Chicago At the most fundamental level, reuse of a building is one of the most sustainable strategies available. This project restores, revitalizes and transforms a classic, but aging Modern building into an environmentally responsive, high-quality workplace, exemplifying Herman Miller’s core values of human-centered, spirited and purposeful design. Located on the company’s main campus, this two-story 1974 office building housed Herman Miller’s executives until 1997. The architects stripped the building to structure and rebuilt it with minimal finishes, which utilize over 50 percent recycled content. The floor plates are organized to provide maximum daylight penetration and 100 percent line-of-sight to the landscape. With 69 percent of its total energy produced on-site, the redesign achieves a 29 percent reduction in energy consumption, mainly through envelope improvements and high-efficiency mechanical equipment and lighting. The project also supports the regional economy, with 57 percent of construction materials sourced within 500 miles. Lake View Terrace Branch Library, Los Angeles Fields Devereaux Architects & Engineers/GreenWorks, Los Angeles Lake View Terrace Branch of the City of Los Angeles Public Library system, enjoys a spacious main reading room that stretches along the east-west axis providing dramatic views of the park to the south. The site’s stormwater runoff was reduced by 25 percent with landscaping features that include a series of radial bioswales for efficient rainwater infiltration. More than 75 percent of construction waste was diverted from landfills to local recycling facilities. The Library’s energy performance is more than 40 percent more efficient than California standards. Night venting takes advantage of it exterior insulated, high-mass CMU shell. Approximately 80 percent of the public spaces are naturally ventilated via mechanically interlocked windows controlled by sophisticated energy management system. A building-integrated photovoltaic system shades the entry and roofs the community room while providing 15 percent of the building’s energy. The design provides nearly 100% shading of glazing for glare-free daylight during operating hours. The program called for a LEED Platinum building; it is the first project of the city to attempt this level. The Plaza at PPL Center, Allentown, Pa., Robert A.M. Stern Architects, New York City (In association with Kendall/HeatonAssociates and with support from environmental building consultant Atelier Ten) This LEED Gold high-performance urban office building, was designed and built in 18 months on a suburban real-estate budget ($104 per square foot hard cost for the shell and core). The eight-story building offers Allentown ‘s downtown its first new office development in over 25 years. A dramatic eight-story glass atrium brings natural light deep into the core of the building, while extensive perimeter glazing provides panoramic views and abundant daylight filtered through brises-soleil directly to all building spaces. CO2 sensors ensure that fresh air is supplied directly to each building area as needed. A pair of two-story plant-filled winter gardens along the south facade of the building provide unique workspaces for the occupants, bring daylight deeper into the floor plates, control glare, and improve indoor air quality. The building’s layout and efficient building systems-plus through the use of zero-emitting or very low VOC-emitting paint, adhesives, sealants, carpet, and composite wood–reduce energy demand by more than 30 percent over code requirements. Water use is 45 percent below code requirements, and construction materials contained more than 20 percent recycled content. City of White Rock Operations Centre, White Rock, British Columbia Busby + Associates Architects, Vancouver , British Columbia The mandate of the City of White Rock was to make their new Operations Building as environmentally sustainable as reasonably possible, in accordance with the City’s own policy. The 6545-square-foot building earned a LEED Gold certification through a great variety of strategies that include photovoltaic panels for electricity and solar tubes to provide base radiant heating for the building. Daylight lightshelves reduce lighting needs. A green sod roof reduces runoff from impermeable surfaces, while a pervious parking lot to allow infiltration of water into the ground. The facility also uses storm water rather than potable water to wash down city vehicles and for toilets, and waterless urinals and low-flow faucets throughout the facility further reduce water consumption. Extensive use of materials produced within a 500-mile radius of the site also reduced transportation effects on the environment. Woods Hole Research Center Gilman Ordway Campus, Woods Hole, Mass. William McDonough + Partners, Charlottesville , Va. Working within a challenging and constrained site, the design preserves the cultural landscape represented by an existing 19th-century summer home, respectfully and adaptively reusing the original house and adding contemporary office, laboratory, and common spaces. The all-electric building relies on renewable energy sources, including a grid-connected and net-metered 26.4-kW photovoltaic array that powers the building’s closed-loop ground-source heat pump system. A planned on-site wind turbine will likely make the building a net-energy exporter. Icynene spray foam insulates all exterior walls and roof assemblies, creating a technically and ecologically effective air barrier and optimized R-values. Other components reinforce the performance benefits of this extremely secure envelope including offset-stud framing, double- and triple-glazed argon-insulated low-e windows, enthalpy wheels that recapture heat and moisture from exhaust air and precondition incoming fresh air, and high-efficiency lighting controls and occupancy monitors. For more information on each building, see the AIA link below.
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